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"Dog Whisperer" Lawsuit Draws Experts Criticism

Experts from around the country have come forward to comment on the lawsuit filed May 4th by television producer Flody Suarez (8 Simple Rules) against Cesar Millan ("The Dog Whisperer") and his facility for severe injuries to his dog, Gator. related articles Gator continues to require medical treatment and still cannot eat normally.

World-renowned dog trainers, behaviorists and veterinarians had all warned National Geographic that Millan's methods had the potential for disaster. Below are quotes from noted experts:

"Cesar Millan's methods are based on flooding and punishment. The results, though immediate, will be only transitory. His methods are misguided, outmoded, in some cases dangerous, and often inhumane. You would not want to be a dog under his sphere of influence. The sad thing is that the public does not recognize the error of his ways." Dr. Nicholas Dodman - Professor and Head, Section of Anima Behavior, Director of Behavior Clinic, Tufts University -Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.

"Practices such as physically confronting aggressive dogs and using of choke collars for fearful dogs are outrageous by even the most diluted dog training standards. A profession that has been making steady gains in its professionalism, technical sophistication and humane standards has been greatly set back. I have long been deeply troubled by the popularity of Mr. Millan as so many will emulate him. To co-opt a word like `whispering' for arcane, violent and technically unsound practice is unconscionable." Jean Donaldson, The San Francisco SPCA-Director of The Academy for Dog Trainers.

"A number of qualified professionals have voiced concern for the welfare of pet dogs that experience the strong corrections administered by Mr. Millan. My concerns are based on his inappropriateness, inaccurate statements, and complete fabrications of explanations for dog behavior. His ideas, especially those about `dominance', are completely disconnected from the sciences of ethology and animal learning, which are our best hope for understanding and training our dogs and meeting their behavioral needs. Many of the techniques he encourages the public to try are dangerous, and not good for dogs or our relationships with them." Dr. Suzanne Hetts, Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist Co-owner of Animal Behavior Associates, Inc., Littleton, CO.

"ALPHA is a 'Benevolent Leader,' not a Bully! Ceaser misunderstads the very Pack Behavior and Leadership Role he extolls with what we know to be scientific fact in well documented animal studies of canines and Ethology. This is dangerous to the novice untrained pet dog owner, especially in cases of real canine aggression or anxiety and other fear based behaviors. Most 'REAL' aggression or anxiety won't be resolved in a 30 minute film segment. This is not 'The Real World.' This is the fantasy world of TV entertainment and many dog owners buy the 'Snake Oil' and have the potential of being severley attacked and injured employing Mr. Millan's improper training methods. Worse yet are the many 'devote's' of Ceaser trying to ride his 'coat tails' to 'instant celebrity' or 'expert' status, the many so-called Proffessional Dog Trainers and Behavior Consultants that Claim to BE TRAINED IN CESAR'S WAY - or Call themselves another 'DOG WHISPERER.' The General Public and Dog Owner need to stay far away from these misguided amature trainers. They may be well intentioned, but may destroy your dog and your relationship with your dog in the process." Bill Glatzel, Proffessional Dog Trainer/K9 Behaviorist, and CEO of TLC K9 ACADEMY, Phoenix, AZ.

"Cesar Millan employs outdated methods that are dangerous and inhumane. Using a choke chain and treadmill to treat fear of strangers and dogs is completely inappropriate. Hopefully the National Geographic Channel will listen to the scientific community and discontinue production of The Dog Whisperer." Vyolet Michaels, CTC (Certified Dog Trainer and Behavior Counselor)

Excerpt below of letter from Lisa Laney, Dip. DTBC, CPDT, CBC to National Geographic before airing "The Dog Whisperer":

"The intended program depicts aversive and abusive training methods - treatment for some serious anxiety and fear based issues - being administered by an individual with no formal education whatsoever in canine behavioral sciences. The `results' that are shown are more than likely not long lasting changes, but the result of learned helplessness, or fatigue, neither of which impact behavior to any significant long term degree - at least not in a good way. For those of us who are pioneering the effort to end the ignorance that drives the cruel treatment administered upon our canine companions, it is disappointing to see that this programming will reach the masses - especially on the NG Channel. The ignorance that this program perpetuates will give equally ignorant people the green light to subject their dogs to abuse. In turn these dogs will react even more defensively, will bite more people.

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